Couey Ranch Silt, Colorado

Vegan-inspired “Rancher Advocacy Program” aims to put beef producers out of business

Greg Henderson


Ranchers Beware of Rancher Advocacy Program

I’m not ashamed to say I had beef for dinner.

Most of you reading this were raised the same as me – taught that all God’s creatures in our care deserve to be fed and sheltered accordingly, and free from abuse; even those that would eventually become food for our families.

Renee King-Sonnen does not share all my views about animals – she’s a vegan. What makes King-Sonnen unique is that she’s a rancher gone vegan – and she’s convinced her husband, Tommy, too.

Rowdy Girl Sanctuary@RowdyGirlRanch

Our cows are family. I never knew I was going vegan. I began to tell myself that what we were doing was wrong, because no-one would treat their family members this way. The only way I could change was to STOP THE VOICES OF MY PAST that was NORMALIZING VIOLENCE. #animalsanctuary

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Renee moved to the Sonnen Ranch in 2009, a 96-acre spread 50 miles south of Houston where she became a little too attached to one of the calves she named Rowdy Girl. You can read Renee’s full version of events at her web site Rowdy Girl Sanctuary, but the short version is that she convinced Tommy to become a vegan and turn their ranch into a sanctuary.

Before we wander too far down this path, let me make clear I have no issue with Renee and Tommy turning their ranch into an assisted living facility for cows. It’s their property and their cows. If they want to sing lullabies and tuck their cows in at night, more power to them.

I do, however, have some concerns with the Rancher Advocacy Program (RAP), launched by Renee to help “transition cattle ranches and animal farms away from animal agriculture into viable veganic, compassionate businesses.” Her words, not mine.

Apparently, becoming vegan and launching a bovine retirement village was so inspiring Renee wants to share.

Last month a press release was distributed by RAP announcing, “Farmers and ranchers are in crisis due to climate change and economic chaos. The Rancher Advocacy Program of Rowdy Girl Sanctuary leads with the answers.”

The answers, apparently, will come at the first RAP Summit to be held next September in Austin, Tex., claiming to “bring cattle ranchers, animal farmers, plant-based industry experts, manufacturers, activists, and environmentalists together to debate and determine solutions to the imminent concerns around global food production, the economy, animal protection and our climate.” Wow. That’s an aggressive undertaking for an established, well-funded NGO, let alone a fledgling start up like RAP.

Further, Rowdy Girl Sanctuary says it will evolve from a farm animal rescue and sanctuary “to a state-of-the-art, animal care facility, a plant based/environmental resource education center and endowment for ranchers and farmers.” More on that word “endowment” later.

Through Rowdy Girl Sanctuary, Renee hopes to inspire “other ranchers to experience a paradigm shift, and, through the Rancher Advocacy Program, provide them the expertise and tools to evolve away from the cruelty of factory farming to a financially stable business.”

That’s right. You want out of the cow business? Renee says she can help.

See the full post by Greg Henderson on Drovers

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